On the 28th April 2011, I went to see a professional production of To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee at the 'Blackpool Grand Theatre'. The novel To Kill a Mockingbird is set in 1935 in Alabama, a story about innocence, knowledge, prejudice and courage. In the beginning the main character, Scout, starts out to be a very immature child not knowing the prejudice times around her, as the story goes on she gains knowledge of these times by fellow kids around her accusing her dad of being a "nigger lover" which then was an insult. Her father was being courageous of a black man being falsely accused of raping a white girl. Her father, Atticus, is a criminal defence attorney only doing his job and not discriminating against this man. The line in the book "Shoot, all the bluejays you want, but remember its a sin to kill a mockingbird" is referring to the black man in the story, Tom. He symbolises a mockingbird because all mockingbirds do is sing for our enjoyment and stay out of harms way, so if you kill them its a sin. He is the mockingbird in the story and all he does is keep to himself and is falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit; and in the end is eventually found guilty by a bias jury and is shot trying to escape from prison.
In this evaluation I am going to be looking at certain aspects of the performance we watched, for example; Direction - The interpretation of the novel, techniques, and overall effectiveness of the play. Design - The effectiveness of the set, and use of space and the combination of set and lighting. Acting - The interpretation of their characters, and how believable their performance was. I will provide a detailed analysis of the play, and come to an overall conclusion of the play, and my personal views.
A very important factor in a good production, is the well employed use of design. Set design, stage design, props, and decorations etc. This production was performed in a very beautiful theatre, and had a lot of potential for a beautiful performance. The stage was set out in a very old-fashioned way, planks of white wood, separated very loosely, and not a lot of structure to them. This was effective as it gave the audience a sense of where the play was set before any speech had taken place, it also made the audience feel as though they were in that place, and in that time. The white wood also gave us a metaphorical sense of the story, the surroundings of white, like the world at this time was ruled by white people, no space for blacks here. So already, without the play even beginning, the audience had an idea, if they looked closely, where the play was set, and what the play could be about. This was an example of very clever and effective stage design.
As the play began, the stage transformed to slide another wall of this loosely stacked, white, wooden planking so that the audience could see through, but our attention was mostly focused on what was in the forefront of the stage, much like the bars of a prison cell, as much as we want to look inside, we feel far more comfortable concentrating on the outside. This was an effective way of making sure that our attention was in the right place without confusing us as an audience, and still maintaining the atmosphere that the white planks had produced. This method of very subtle yet effective set change was also used later in the play numerous times for all the important set changes, some examples of this were when the narrator had finished her opening speech and we went straight to the streets and homes of Alabama, 1935. Here, the only change to the set was the addition of a mailbox, placed on the right hand side of the stage. This immediately changed everything about the set, the right hand wall suddenly appeared to be a house, simply because the mailbox reminds us of a home. It is exactly these subtle scene changes that really brought this play to life, with it's...